Apple is cracking down on coronavirus apps

According to CNBC, Apple is rejecting coronavirus-related apps submitted by iOS app developers who are not affiliated with official health organizations or governments. This comes shortly after Google Play disabled its search results for “coronavirus” apps. 

A quick search for coronavirus in the iOS App Store yields a few health-related apps, along with some games. However, according to CNBC, four developers had claimed that when they approached Apple with apps that make use of World Health Organization data to help people track the spread of COVID-19, they were rejected.

One of the developers received a written notice from Apple that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution.” Apple has updated its App Store guidelines and the most recent addition to this would cover coronavirus related apps:

“Apps that provide services in highly-regulated fields (such as banking and financial services, healthcare, and air travel) or that require sensitive user information should be submitted by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.”

Google also has its rules for its play store that prevent apps that capitalize on natural disasters or tragic events. When searching for “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” on Google Play it yields a message that says “no results found.” Other related terms also do not work, such as “tracker” or “map.” But, the use of the term “COVID19” without the dash does yield results with one of them being the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.